Our Fantasy Girls
Lost Girl stars Anna Silk and Zoie Palmer weave a Sapphic spell.
As a genre, fantasy has always attracted its share of lesbian fans—and not just because the costumes are hot—thanks to series like Xena and Buffy that showcased same-sex affection, first in subtext and later more explicitly, and offered us queers a place to see ourselves on screen in mainstream culture. The latest (and dare we say greatest?) series to enter this pantheon of beloved lesbian inclusive fantasy series is Lost Girl, now in its third series on Syfy.
This sexy and oh-so-addictive show has taken the queer fantasy mantle and run with it, packing its world with LGBT characters of every gender, shape, size and species. At its center is Bo, a bisexual succubus and her gorgeous girlfriend Lauren. The relationship, which has taken two nail-biting seasons to develop, is everything we hoped it would be, full of sweetness and sizzling hot Sapphic succubus sex—in other words it’s our fantasy come true. It’s thanks in no small part to the actors bringing this interspecies romance to life, Anna Silk and Zoie Palmer, who dish on their chemistry in all those steamy love scenes, playing strong sexually empowered women and why their lesbian fans are the best.
The series follows Bo, a succubus—which means she feeds off the sexual energy of others—as she, with the help of her best friend, a human girl named Kenzi (Ksenia Solo), investigate crimes in the fae world. Over the course of the first two seasons, Bo has created her own family of choice, which in addition to Kenzi includes a werewolf named Dyson, Trick (tavern owner by day, secret Blood King by night) and her girlfriend Lauren, a brilliant human doctor who works for the light fae. Along the way, Bo has learned how to feed without killing, she has defied both the light and dark fae to remain unaligned, and she has defeated a world-destroying monster called the Garuda—an experience that may or may not have unlocked something dark within Bo herself (when asked if that’s the case, Silk deftly dodges the question, stating we’ll just have to watch and see).
After two seasons of relationship near misses (like Lauren’s secret girlfriend in a coma and Bo taking up with a dark fae briefly), season three kicks off with Bo and Lauren finally making it a official—a daring move for a series that has kept its audience on their toes with love triangles and relationships always in flux. Even Silk and Palmer were surprised by the speedy turn of events.
“I remember getting the first episode of the season, getting the script, and being like, Wow, OK!” says Silk. “I kind of knew that was going to lead to that, but wow, this is happening in this episode, OK! Which was an interesting choice, I think, for the producers.”
Palmer, though surprised as well, was all for the change in pace, “we were both excited to see that they would be together from the first episode, but it was a bold choice and it was a big choice and in retrospect I think that it was a big choice to get them together right out of the gate.”
Silk adds, “I have to admit that I questioned it in the beginning. I did question the speed at which we got together. I wondered about how that would play out, but I think it was a good choice and definitely a bold one.”
But there is no ambivalence about the status of their relationship from the audience, which has responded vocally in favor of the duo. The TV couple has inspired various fan blogs, Tumblrs and YouTube video montages. They even won the E!’s “2013 TV’s Top Couples” poll, beating out Glee’s Brittany and Santana. But perhaps most telling of all is that have received their own relationship name amalgamation; “Doccubus” (as in doctor + succubus), an honor Silk and Palmer had never dreamed they would receive in their lifetimes. Both actors are incredibly touched and grateful for the, shall we say, spirited response they’ve received from fans—which has included multiple marriage proposals. “We’ve the single best [fans], I’m more sure now than I ever have been that we actually do have the best fans in TV history, ” says Palmer.
For anyone who has seen the two on screen together it’s little surprise that they have earned such a passionate following, the chemistry between Silk and Palmer is incredible—from the first episode in which Palmer’s character examines Bo and can barely remain professional, and it’s only become more intense as time went on. Palmer explains how their chemistry has evolved over the years, “What’s great about having a history now is that we know each other really well and so there’s a comfort there. We’re able to kind of explore stuff a little bit now because we’re relaxed. The first couple of sex scenes with anyone are hard because you’re trying to figure out where everyone is comfortable and whether they’re OK if I do this and are you OK if I do that. So now we can just go for it.”
While us queer gals can appreciate that Bo is currently in domestic bliss and playing doctor with her, well, doctor, one of Bo’s defining characteristics from the very beginning is her bisexuality, a sexual identity that has historically gotten a pretty bum wrap on TV, often portrayed as a phase (remember when Alice Pieszecki was bisexual in season one of The L Word?) or simply a device for titillation (The O.C., Nip/Tuck, we could go on). However, Lost Girl is bucking this tradition by taking a progressive view on bisexuality. Over the course of series, Bo has had two serious relationships one with man and now with Lauren and each relationship has been given the same weight, both emotionally and physically. All too often same-sex relationships are treated more chastely than their hetero counterparts, not so on Lost Girl, which gleefully focuses on Bo’s sexual conquests regardless of their gender.
Bo’s attraction also doesn’t seem to favor one gender over the other and this has remained consistent. And while she is an apologetically sexual creature she is also shown to be capable of monogamy—when she wants to be.
Palmer recognizes the importance of bisexual visibility. “Bisexuality as a sexuality is often judged kind of harshly. It really is. People really want people to be either gay or straight, and gay people I feel have as much difficulty sometimes understanding bisexuality as straight people have understanding any other sexuality at times,” says Palmer. Lost Girl is working hard to change that perception one steamy gender-flipping episode at a time.
This enlightened take on Bo’s sexuality thanks in large part to creator Michelle Lovretta, who in an interview with The Watercooler said, “I also really wanted to defend the bisexual community and counter some sad tropes out there (bisexuals are sluts, can’t commit, are just afraid to be gay, yadda yadda) while also valuing and representing female friendships that have nothing sexualized about them at all.”
It’s thanks to Lovretta that the show has a generally sex-positive attitude. In the same interview she explains that prior to the first season she set down some internal rules in regards to the way sexuality would be portrayed in Lost Girl which included that there was to be no slut shaming, that Bo’s partners regardless of gender would be equally visible and that sexual orientation would not be an issue, ever. It’s an attitude that Palmer appreciates, saying, “I think that along with gender, what’s great about Lost Girl as a whole is that a lot of issues that people have in the real world, we don’t have on our show.”
For Silk this speaks to a larger attitude of acceptance in the Lost Girl universe, that the actor welcomes, “what’s great about Lost Girl as a whole is that a lot of issues that people have in the real world, that we don’t. About all kinds of topics, be it sexuality, be it gender [or even disability]…it’s really never mentioned, and personally I’ve always been proud of our show for those sorts of things. I love that we get to play in this world that I would like to live in.”
One of those problems both Palmer and Silk refer to are the social consequences women still face around being an openly sexual being. Thanks to Lovretta’s stance on slut shaming Bo is not only able to be a fully realized sexual being, but she is even able derive power from it (both figuratively and literally).
“[Bo’s approach to sexuality is] unapologetic. I love that what was such a source of shame for her growing up has become her greatest source of power,” says Silk. “I think there’s such an amazing message behind that. She is who she is and there’s no judgment on it. An interviewer asked me once about whether or not I was afraid of religious groups coming after me for portraying this character and honestly it had never occurred to me. I’m sure there’s people who would not like this character but I don’t really hear from them, for the most part it’s just been completely embraced.”
Lost Girl isn’t afraid to explore all different sorts of relationships, from casual dating to monogamy and everything in between, and in season three they are tackling polyamory. Though Bo and Lauren are in a committed relationship, because the amount of sexual energy Bo needs to intake would be fatal to a human she literally cannot get everything she needs from Lauren, so the two are negotiating all the challenges of opening up a relationship for the first time, setting rules and boundaries and all the emotional processing that goes along with that. Silk wonders what her audience thinks of the storyline. “I imagine that some half of some couple looked to the other one and said, ‘Could you ever do that? Could you ever let me go off and sleep with other people?’ I mean their relationship looks so kind of traditional in some ways, and it’s so amazingly not that in other ways, in that Lauren can’t give Bo what she needs. And that conversation of ‘I can’t give you enough and you need to go and essentially have sex with other people’ must have brought stuff up for people, for couples who’re watching the show.”
Equality in all its forms is major, if unspoken, influence on the Lost Girl universe. Both men and women hold positions of power, while the light fae are lead by a man the dark fae take their marching orders from the very sexy and very female Morrigan (Emmanuelle Vaugier). One of the joys of the series is it’s deep bench of strong and nuanced women, a fact that hasn’t escaped Silk, “there’s no real female character on our show that is sort of this victim character. I think all the women on our show are strong. They might have various backgrounds—they might have been victimized in the past—but they’re not portrayed that way. I am proud to be part of something that has such strong women.”
For Bo being strong means kicking all manner of supernatural booty (in head to toe leather by the way, God bless the costume designer on this series) but for Lauren that strength comes from her intellect, this along with her unique skill set makes her an indispensible ally, but it can also make for some tricky pillow talk. “There are times where it’s hard for me to get through a scene because, you know, we’ll have a sex scene,” laughs Palmer, “and I’ll burst into science, medical jargon and I’m like, Who does this? Who would ever say this line in this moment, but Lauren Lewis? God bless her, she takes the opportunity to science whenever she possibly can. And we kind of all love her for it.”
Silk chimes in, “Smart is sexy. And Zoie really does it so well. It really looks like she knows what she’s talking about,” she laughs. “I think one of my favorite things happened in first season where, you know, Zoe had a stethoscope on and she’s listening to this woman’s chest and she’s saying how it didn’t look good and we’re filming. It’s so serious and she does it so well and you really believe that she’s a doctor and she’s in control of the situation—and she didn’t have the stethoscope in her ears!,” laughs Silk. “But, you know, she makes it work.”
“I commit!” laughs Palmer, “You know, I sometimes have to just break my lines up into just syllables. Like just say all the syllables in the right order because I have absolutely no idea what I’m saying. Not a clue.”
All joking aside, if there is one thing both Silk and Palmer take seriously it’s their responsibility to their lesbian and female audiences, in both representing and entertaining them. As we ended our interview with Silk and Palmer each of the women had a message for their audience:
“I’ve always really seen Bo as a really great role model, I mean, she’s been a great role model to me,” laughs Silk. “I’ve gotten letters that say like, Thanks for making me brave and that really means a lot to me and I think that Bo definitely made me more brave too. Anytime that you can portray a character on TV, that’s a female character who’s found her way to empowerment I just think that’s so, so important and I’m glad it resonates the way that it does because it resonated with me that way.”
Palmer adds, “We have a very big lesbian audience and I think that it’s great that there is a couple that’s on television that is represented as respectfully, as well as this couple is, but even bigger than this I think that, what I want people to take from the show is that people are people and we’re all a little bit different and it’s something to really celebrate and to not be ashamed of and whatever you are, whoever you are, whoever you love, whatever your size and color and all of those things. It’s not just OK but it’s fantastic.”
Prodigy is responsible for the critically acclaimed television series Lost Girl, which is currently airing its third season on Showcase in Canada and Syfy in the U.S. Founded in 2006 by Jay Firestone and later joined by Producer Vanessa Piazza, Prodigy Pictures leads the way in the production of quality film, television and cross-platform media